The semi-finals of the 2018 Ylvisaker Cup began with the highly anticipated match-up between Valiente and undefeated Tonkawa. In a game played at a breakneck pace, it was Valiente that was able to defeat Tonkawa 13-8, putting an end to Tonkawa’s 9-game win streak to begin the high goal season. Dominating the throw-in battle 18-4, with ten of those throw-ins won by Adolfo Cambiaso, Valiente was able to constantly attack downfield, placing Tonkawa on the defensive. Santi Torres and patron Bob Jornayvaz worked tirelessly throughout the game to provide Cambiaso with time and space as he effectively began attacks for the high-octane offense of Valiente. Combining for 9 of Valiente’s 13 goals, the young duo of Torres and Bautista Panelo were the difference in the game as Valiente built a large lead behind their offense.
After an even first chukka that saw Valiente hold a slim 3-2 lead, it was Panelo that led the way in the second chukka, shooting a perfect 3 for 3 from the field to give Valiente the 7-4 lead. Tonkawa was forced to create their offensive attacks from deep in their defensive end as Valiente won the first 13 throw-ins in the game. The pace of the Valiente attack provided difficulties for the Tonkawa defense as they attempted to pressure Cambiaso, which left them vulnerable downfield against Panelo and Torres. A goal each from Cambiaso and Torres in the third chukka provided Valiente with the 9-5 lead at half time. The second half featured a slower, more controlled style of play from Valiente as they managed their lead effectively, as Tonkawa struggled to create good scoring chances. Trailing by five, Tonkawa missed their first nine shots of the second half, scoring just one field goal late in the sixth chukka as Valiente put forth a dominant team effort in the 13-8 victory.
Colorado’s patron Robert Jornayvaz was looking to join his father in Sunday’s Ylvisaker Cup final, facing a GSA team that used a strong comeback to defeat Pilot. After leading throughout the entire game, Colorado was unable to prevent another comeback from GSA, as a goal in the final seconds from GSA’s Matias Magrini followed by an overtime goal from Henry Porter 14 seconds into the seventh chukka, gave GSA the 9-8 victory. In a very physical, tightly marked game, Colorado was able to create more scoring chances from the field, outshooting GSA 13-8 behind the work of Diego Cavanagh and Juan Britos. Late foul trouble ultimately allowed GSA back into the game as six fouls from Colorado in the final two chukkas resulted in three penalty goals for Mariano Gonzalez to help GSA complete their comeback for the second consecutive game.
Early in the game, Britos broke away for a long run to open the scoring for Colorado as they maintained their lead in a low-scoring first half. Both teams were applying on-ball pressure, leaving little space to carry the ball as the first half ended with a slim 4-3 lead for Colorado, with Cavanagh leading the way for Colorado with three goals. Colorado dominated open play to begin the second half, outshooting GSA 7-1 in the fourth and fifth chukkas but were unable to extend their one-goal lead. GSA found themselves still trailing by one late in the game, as Dylan Rossiter picked up the ball on the end line with 45 seconds left to turn it in front of goal. A whistle seemingly ended GSA’s hopes, but after winning their challenge, GSA received a throw-in just yards in front of goal. Matias Magrini picked up a backhand from Rossiter and found his way to goal, hitting the ball just inside the post, sending the game to overtime. Just seconds into overtime, Porter jumped on the loose ball and found his way through a crowd, for his first goal of the game, sending his team to the victory and a spot in Sunday’s Ylvisaker Cup final against Valiente.